Today I sit down with Akshay!
How are you?
Good - work is busy, and current events are, you know, current events, but still — good!
What’s your quick bio?
I am currently a software engineer for a tech firm in San Francisco (the tech part is...probably obvious, given the city), but I am currently sequestered in Atlanta while aforementioned current events continue to current-event. Hooray!
What did you do while you were at Tech?
Honestly, not a ton. I graduated last year with a BS Computer Science (are you surprised?) and a minor in Sports, Society, and Technology, and in my spare time, I served the Ramblin’ Reck Club in a couple positions, worked with TEDxGeorgiaTech, and generally went to as many Tech sporting events as I could possibly fit into my schedule.
How did you get to FTRS?
I credit (blame?) Jake and Cade — they read some older stuff I had worked on and encouraged me to apply.
What do you normally write about?
Favorite Tech sports moment?
Miracle on Techwood (duh) because storming fields of play is absolutely undefeated as a sporting/life moment.
Favorite non-cliche Tech sports moment? (i.e. not Miracle on Techwood, 2014 UGA, etc.)
Another one that’s up there is the 2018 volleyball edition of COFH. Incredibly tense rivalry win, down-to-the-wire match, amazing atmosphere — that night at O’Keefe Gym was pure magic and unchecked rivalry emotion (in the good way) all rolled into one.
Favorite non-Tech sports moment?
I was born in 1997. I have never seen an Atlanta sports championship in my lifetime.
Favorite piece you’ve written for FTRS?
I’m going to cheat a little bit and suggest a couple from the ol’ back-catalog:
Clean, Old Fashioned Clinched, from April 2019
Applying the Stanford Model, from June 2019
2019 was a good writing year.
I also want to take this opportunity to feature other people’s stuff:
Jake’s soliloquy on the abrupt end to the 2020 spring sports season put into words what I figure many of us were thinking and feeling just a few short days ago. He also put together this feature on Georgia Tech’s exit from the SEC, which I found to fill in many of the gaps in my knowledge about that critical juncture in Tech’s athletic history.
Stephen’s idea to start riffing on sports a la Every Day Should Be Saturday was a gem, and I hope to contribute more to it as time rolls on. He also unloaded a glorious rant on special teams.
Chris put the 2019 football season in more realistic perspective than my exasperated self wanted to.
I learned a lot from Andrew’s breakdown of what went wrong versus Pitt, and his back-catalog, along with Nishant’s and Kieffer’s, is filled to the brim with more learning opportunities for those interested in the nitty-gritty of the sport.
Before the basketball season, Patrick described why we should trust Josh Pastner and what Tech basketball needed to do to have a successful 2019-20 season. Spoiler alert: he was right on all counts.
However, Ben was much less right when deciding to rank The Last Jedi atop his Star Wars movie power rankings last fall.
I’m sure I’m missing a number of other awesome pieces from the site over the past two years — we have a very talented cast of writers here at FTRS!
Favorite off-the-beaten-path Atlanta restaurant (i.e. not one of the typical ones everyone talks about)?
Honestly, I did not eat out a ton outside from the usual Atlantan fare, so I will use this space to once again shill for not-a-sponsor-but-should-be Cypress Pint and Plate.
What kind of media are you into (music, tv, movies, books, podcasts, etc.)?
HOOOOOOO boy, strap in. I have a lot of opinions.
I have very eclectic tastes with music in general, but more recently I’ve been working with a heavy rotation of The Weeknd, (older) Kanye West (Pre-Yeezus Kanye West is light-years better than his post-Yeezus work, and I will not be entertaining opinions to the contrary), Coldplay, Imagine Dragons (yes, I know — I don’t want to hear it), and Kygo. I occasionally throw on a massive playlist of movie soundtracks whenever I really have to get work done; the main players on there include pieces from the modern Star Trek movies, Stargate, the Daniel Craig James Bond movies, the Christopher Nolan Batman films, the Call of Duty video game series, and the Halo video game series.
- Hot Take: The Office isn’t good. Michael Scott is annoying and his awkwardness makes me squirm every time I watch it.
- Semi-campy sci-fi is absolutely killer and made up the vast majority of my childhood: this includes Star Trek: the Next Generation, Enterprise, and Deep Space Nine, all three Stargate series, etc. I will defend this genre of TV and its continuing spinoffs with my life.
- NCIS is...not bad? I watched a lot of that as a kid too.
- Psych and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are equally awesome and worth binging the whole way through.
- In truth, I don’t really watch a lot of live TV anymore other than sports.
- Unpopular opinion: the 2009 and later Star Trek movies are #actuallygood (with the exception of Into Darkness, which is only #meh) and fit into canon just fine. The series needed new blood and a way to bring in new fans, and these movies were the perfect way to do it. The 2009 reboot of Star Trek continues to be my favorite movie of all time.
- A close second favorite is 2006’s Casino Royale, which is undoubtedly the best Craig Bond film and features arguably the best Bond song of all-time (note: NSFW if your workplace does not like images of guns).
- Other movies I’d put in a power ranking: The Hunt for Red October, Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan, Die Hard, Knives Out, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Inglourious Basterds, Aladdin, Goldeneye, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Invictus
- Another unpopular opinion: Man of Steel was not terrible, but my feelings on it boil down to basically this.
I’ve been trying to get back into reading for pleasure after high school and college conspired to squeeze that interest out of me, so I’ve been starting with more sports-related fare to ease into it. One of the most interesting ones I’ve finished this year is The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports, which has a title that really leaves little to the imagination. Jokes aside, this was a really interesting look at the history of English soccer and it really got me thinking about the structure of international sports leagues. English soccer fans seem to deride American sports for their franchise systems and salary caps (among many of our other financial fascinations on this side of the pond), but ironically, the marketing, business planning, and revenue generation transformation that the first tier of English soccer has undergone over the last 28 years seems very intensely American.
I’m a sports, analytics, and technology junkie, so I try to fill my commutes with news from all of those industries. A couple of favorites:
- Podcast Ain’t Played Nobody - discussion about predominant narratives around the college football world, not just at the P5 level and not just on the field either
- The Solid Verbal - for all of your college football, grilling, summer-time event-planning, and long-running-inside-jokes-that-change-your-pronunciations-of-words-subconsciously-and-annoy-your-family-and-friends needs.
- Measurables - if you’re interested in learning more about the sports analytics world
- Archive Atlanta - a short, sweet, and simple weekly podcast on “the people and places that shaped the city of Atlanta”
- Accidental Tech Podcast - covers loads of Apple and tech news
- Total Soccer Show - tactical analysis of Europe’s five major soccer leagues and the US national soccer teams
- MLS Assist - tactical analysis of Major League Soccer
Did I say a couple favorites? I meant many of them.
I’m gonna go rogue here to talk about gaming: modern media’s new(?) frontier. On the ol’ Xbox, I usually throw on Halo, Destiny 2, Borderlands, The Division (which has an extremely relevant storyline), or FIFA nowadays. I’ve been tracking Call of Duty: Warzone for a bit — that looks extremely fun. If I was made of money, I might jump at playing Half Life: Alyx on VR, but alas, the life of a new grad begs for frugality. Also, this partially counts: watching the /r/CollegeBasketball March Madness tournament has actually been loads of fun, even if the game it’s being simulated on doesn’t hold up quite well. Pursuant to that: watching streamers on Twitch also makes for excellent background noise.
What do you do when you aren’t watching sports?
As I’ve discovered recently, watching the stock market has a similar thrill.
In seriousness, if I’m not actively watching sports, I’m probably writing, programming (I am really cursed with interests that align with my jobs), playing sports outside, playing video games — I dunno, nothing super interesting.
What’s your go-to icebreaker “fun fact”?
Well, it used to be that I am the world’s foremost Tom Brady hater, but after this past football season, I’m thinking of switching to “survived his team’s loss to an FCS opponent without breaking household objects”.
Do you have a rivalry with any of the other writers?
stares at Jake Grant through the internet.
Wash your hands, y’all.